To help stop the spread of COVID-19, employees around the world are working from home. Having remote flexibility is a luxury during these challenging times, but for some, it comes with new personal challenges, like having to WFH with your significant other for the first time.   

Allow me to speak from experience. Nearly three weeks ago when both of our employers asked us to stay home for the foreseeable future, my fiancé Brian and I felt pools of relief. Working from home? Together? This would be the silver lining of what is otherwise a devastating time, we thought. It might even be… fun. 

A few days in, we came to see that our reaction was naive, short-sighted, and that we didn’t have the tools to effectively work together in this new normal. What happened when we both had back-to-back Zoom meetings? Who sat on the couch, and who sat at the kitchen counter? How do we declare an end to the work day so that we can still create time to bond with each other? 

Without answers to these questions, we started to butt heads, and began to feel concerned about our connection and the quality of our work we produce while at home. Our concerns are common in today’s landscape. Nearly 70 percent of people worry that their work performance will be negatively impacted while working from home due to the coronavirus, and over 70 percent also agree that the outbreak has negatively affected their close relationships, according to a Thrive Global original survey of 5,000 respondents about coronavirus pain points. 

Determined to not only make the best of our current circumstances, but to actively thrive in them, Brian and I tried implementing science-backed Microsteps, and we documented the whole experience in the video above. Take a few minutes today to watch it — either with your partner, or by yourself. 

You’ll learn more in the video, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the WFH Microsteps that have been helping us navigate this strange time: 

Do a morning check-in with your partner before you start your work. Think of it as a morning briefing where you share what’s ahead in your day, like a call with your manager, a big presentation, or a time you’ll need to be focused and quiet.  You’ll ensure you understand each other’s needs and minimize in-the-moment stress.

Create a plan with your partner to make meals for each other. Depending on the demands of your work day, one might be able to cook lunch, while the other can take on dinner. It’s a great way to share the load and find time to connect — and having a plan in advance will help you avoid throwing together last-minute unhealthy meals.

At the end of your work day, take five minutes to unwind before rejoining your partner. This “buffer time” helps you release stress that’s built up from the day. Taking a few conscious breaths, reading an article or watching a video that has nothing to do with work will help you be your best self with your partner in the evening. 

Working From Home in the New Normal is a data-driven storytelling initiative from SAP and Thrive Global, bringing together insights powered by the Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse with actionable Microsteps and stories from Thrive to help you navigate working from home. Visit daily for the latest data and stories to help improve your focus, prioritization, and well-being.

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  • Alexandra Hayes

    Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive

    Alexandra Hayes is a Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive. Prior to joining Thrive, she was a middle school reading teacher in Canarsie, Brooklyn.